The Summer Literary Seminars are in Montreal for the second year. Now, before you all stop reading, you should know that this is one of the best festivals of its kind. Not saying much, you think? Well, you’d be wrong. The two week long seminar brings together world-class authors, up-and-coming writers and literary enthusiasts for workshops, readings and panel discussions in the heart of downtown Montreal…
Past faculty and students include George Saunders, Chuck Klosterman, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Ames, Padgett Powell and Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, poet laureates and best-selling authors. The Summer Literary Seminars have already been established as an institution in St. Petersburg, Kenya and Lithuania and finally here in Montreal.
This year’s faculty includes Christian Bök, Terry Hoagland and Mary Gaitskill, who has been nominated for several awards and is one of America’s greatest contemporary writers. Because the workshops are all full by this point, you should try to take advantage of the panel discussions and readings that will be taking place at Concordia University for the entire month of June.
On June 14, check out a panel called “On Montreal” featuring Montreal writer David McGimpsey who is a professor at Concordia University, contributor to the Globe and Mail and writes the “Sandwich of the Month” column for EnRoute magazine, Carolyn Marie Souaid, a three-time nominee for the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry and Jason Camlot, the Chair of English at Concordia University and the poetry editor of the Punchy Writers Series for DC Books. The panel is an overview of Montreal literature and a discussion about the current Anglo-Quebec literary community. Following the panel is a reading starting at 7:30 featuring Camlot, Saskia Hamilton, a writer and professor at Barnard College in New York, and Johanna Skibsrud who won the 2010 Giller Prize. The reading will showcase some of Montreal’s best contemporary English writers.
Then, on June 15 at 11am, there’s a panel examining “The Online Journal” with Gillian Size, Jared Bland and Dawn Raffel. Starting at 12:15 and going until 1:15, check out another panel discussion called “Creative Non- Fiction Craft Talk” with Michael Weinreb and Rachel Resnick. Then at 7:30, there’s a reading with the hilarious and talented McGimpsey, Nancy Mauro and panelist Michael Weinreb, winner of the Quill Award and regular contributor to ESPN and The New York Times. This should be a very informative panel with a guy who knows what he’s talking about.
On June 17, Chicago writer Adam Levin who won the 2003 Summer Literary Seminars Fiction Contest and the 2004 Joyce Carol Oates Fiction Prize will be reading from his latest work. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Tin House and several other publications. If you do one thing during SLS, see him read from his book The Instructions. Levin reads with Steve Almond and Francine Prose, who was a finalist for the National Book Award and the president of the PEN American Center. Lastly, on June 23, go see a reading with Vancouver writer Lee Henderson, Miguel Syjuco and the extraordinary Mary Gaitskill.
So for a whole month, downtown Montreal will host events with some of contemporary writing’s best and brightest. Check out videos of the panels and readings the Summer Literary Seminars have scheduled. If you don’t like reading, then you should especially go because this is one of the rare instances where someone else will do the reading for you, and this “someone” will likely be among the best writers in North America.
Summer Literary Seminars, June 12-25, 2011
Concordia University Library Building, deSeve Cinema, 1455 de Maisonneuve West